This week, La Plagne is proud to host the World Telemark Championships. However, as we at EDGE HQ were talking about this great event, we realized that a lot of you out there don’t really know what telemarking really is! Don’t worry, were here to help! Plus, we’ve got the breakdown of what’s happening and when!
So it’s that thing where skiers lunge down the mountain – right?!
A phrase I’ve heard a lot this week in the run up to the competition. Telemarking is basically a combination of alpine and Nordic ski techniques and was established in 1868 in Telemark, Norway, hence the name! Telemarking established itself as a largely back-country skill, with skiers able to attach skins to the bottoms of their skins and hike up hill to otherwise inaccessible areas. During the ‘80’s and ‘90’s, the skill was introduced to the competitive world and – as they say – the rest is history.
Here’s a little link to a lovely explanation of how to Telemark! As a snowboarder I don’t think I’m even going to attempt to write a ‘how-to’!
The most noticeable thing for telemarking, is of course the lunging action of carving into the turns. The heel of the foot is free allowing skiers to move into the lunge position whilst turning. Let’s take a minute to imagine the muscle strength it takes to do that. Needless to say, only the most advanced skiers attempt telemarking! This is great as it makes for a group of competitors who are not only incredibly passionate about their sport, but highly talented and driven.
Telemarking & La Plagne
The first telemarking event held in Montchavin was in 1995, andsince then the region has always felt strong ties to the sport. The sport has flourished in La Plagne and we have been lucky to host several more events over the years. This is mainly due to the ongoing passion for the sport felt by the locals in Montchavin.
Racing combines so many elements. Focused heavily on carving, telemarking also combines most other elements of skiing you can possibly think of! A race basically consists of 4 main elements :
- a jump that the competitor must land in the lunge position
- a series of gates to slalom
- a 360 degree banking turn (known as the reipeløkke didn’t you know?!).
- a skate section (like Nordic skiing) which if that wasn’t bad enough, is often uphill!
There are several disciplines: Classic; Sprint Classic and Parallel Sprint. All of these will be fought out this week here in La Plagne.
Classic : A single run, one chance to win everything!
Sprint Classic : Shorter version of the classic and run over 2 legs, with times and penalties totaled to give an overall winner.
Parallel Sprint : Often the most interesting and exciting to watch as racers to head to head in knock-out heats. Penalties are totaled in real time so skiers can skate further to the finish line if they are judged to have any faults.
Team Parallel : Team of 3, must include 1 female (like the valley rally!) Times are added together to find the overall winner.
When and Where?
Most of the racing will be held on the Jean-Luc Crétier Stade Olympique in Plagne Centre (just opposite Scotty’s Bar), with the final day held in Montchavin and the awards ceremonies also held on the snow front in Montchavin.
Throughout the events, there will be free telemark demo’s available and also instruction whenever possible with assistance provided by the local ski schools. If you don’t have the thighs for telemarking, perhaps take advantage of the free hot chocolate always on offer, but also this week, there will be ‘Green Chaud’ which is hot chocolate plus green Chartreuse. If you haven’t tried this combo, it’s a must before you head home!
Or, if you can’t make it to La Plagne to watch the events take place, they you can always kick back at home, brew some hot choc & stream the races live here.
TEAM PARALLEL SPRINT Jean-Luc Crétier’s Stadium in Plagne centre
10.30 am : Start of competition. Flower ceremony will be held after the race in the finish area.
PARALLEL SPRINT Jean-Luc Crétier’s Stadium in Plagne centre
9.30 am : Ladies qualifications followed by men’s
12 pm : Ladies finals followed by men’s
Free hot drinks offered. Flower ceremony will be held after the race in the finish area.
6.30 pm : Award ceremony of the team parallel sprint and parallel sprint races will be held on the snow front of Montchavin
Friday 17.03.2017 CLASSIC Jean-Luc Crétier’s Stadium in Plagne centre
9 am : Start of the classic race (1 run)
Flower ceremony will be held after the race in the finish area.
Free hot drinks offered
Saturday 18.03.2017 SPRINT in Montchavin
9.30 am : Ladies 1st run followed by men’s
12.30 : Ladies 2nd run followed by men’s
Free hot drinks offered.
Award ceremony of the classic and sprint races will be held after the races in the finish area in Montchavin